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Connection Newsletter - October 1, 2020

The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) posted a 60-day notice in the Federal Register last week seeking comment on the COVID-19 hospital data collection, which is done through the HHS Teletracking COVID-19 Portal.

HHS seeks comments on COVID-19 hospital data collection

The U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) posted a 60-day notice in the Federal Register last week seeking comment on the COVID-19 hospital data collection, which is done through the HHS Teletracking COVID-19 Portal. Those interested in commenting are encouraged to send comments regarding the estimated burden or any other aspect of this collection of information, including any of the following subjects:

  • The necessity and utility of the proposed information collection for the proper performance of the agency’s functions
  • The accuracy of the estimated burden
  • Ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected
  • The use of the automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology to minimize the information collection burden

Comments can be made on the Federal Register website until Monday, November 23.

CARES Act Provider Relief Fund

Please contact Senator Martha McSally and Senator Kyrsten Sinema and your U.S. Representatives today and ask them to urge the White House and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to reinstate the previous COVID-19 Provider Relief Fund reporting requirements. These requirements were outlined in HHS’s June 19 FAQ that defined both expenses and lost revenues attributable to COVID-19.[1] The June requirements, which stated that lost revenue was any revenue that a health care provider lost due to COVID-19, should replace those outlined in HHS’s September 19 notice. Read

Federal Government begins to deploy Abbott BinaxNOW tests to states

In a letter to the nation’s Governors, this week President Trump announced the national distribution plan for the Abbott BinaxNOW Ag Card rapid test to assist Governors' efforts to continue to safely reopen their states. Millions of rapid point-of-care tests for the COVID-19 virus were purchased in August which were granted emergency use authorization by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Those 150 million rapid point-of-care tests are now being distributed across the U.S. According to the U.S. Health and Human Services, the BinaxNOW rapid test is the only U.S. Food and Drug Administration-authorized antigen rapid point-of-care test that does not require an instrument. The test is said to be easy to use and will produce COVID-19 test results in 15 minutes with a cost of $5.

AzHHA releases DataGen reports

In relationship with DataGen, AzHHA issues reports to hospitals based on information submitted to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This data can help hospitals understand the financial impact of proposed changes and annual updates. The reports can also assist in preparing budgets or benchmarking results with other similar organizations. DataGen generates hospital-specific reports which are sent to AzHHA hospital members as part of their membership. Below is the list of reports recently sent to members.

  • FFY2020 Occupational Mix Analysis - Sent 9/9/2020
  • FFY 2021 Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System Final Rule - Sent 9/22/2020
  • FFY 2021 Medicare Long-Term Care Hospital Final Rule - Sent 9/22/2020
  • 2Q2020 Hospital-Acquired Condition - Sent 9/28/2020

Health Current and Colorado’s health information exchange CORHIO announce their intent to merge

Health Current announced in a news release yesterday its intent to merge with the Colorado Regional Health Information Organization (CORHIO). This merger will create the largest health information exchange (HIE) in the region and align the organizational goals of Health Current and CORHIO to better serve the healthcare data needs in Arizona and Colorado while preparing for future consolidation in the HIE landscape. The due diligence process will finalize a legal and governance structure meeting the initial needs of both Arizona and Colorado healthcare communities with the intent to announce the formation of a new regional HIE the next calendar year. The new organization will be one of the first HIE collaborations to cross state lines, positioning Health Current and CORHIO as leaders in the HIE and interoperability landscape.

Health information exchange roundtable: New CMS conditions of participation & advance directives registry

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Interoperability and Patient Access final rule published in May 2020 will soon require hospitals to alert primary care providers and post-acute care providers when patients are admitted, discharged or transferred from the emergency department or inpatient services. CMS refers to these alerts as Patient Event Notifications. The deadline for hospitals to comply with this new requirement is May 2, 2021.

Non-compliance may threaten a hospital’s certification and ability to recoup payments from Medicare and Medicaid. Therefore, it is critical that hospitals understand the new conditions of participation and have a plan in place to meet the technical and administrative requirements.

Health Current, Arizona’s health information exchange (HIE) invites hospital CEO, CMO, CIO and health information technology leaders to join them in one of its next HIE & AZ Hospital Roundtable: New CMS Conditions of Participation & Advance Directives Registry virtual events. AzHHA members are encouraged to register for one of the two available dates:

If you have any questions about this meeting or about the new CMS rule or Health Current’s advance directives registry initiative, contact Peter Steinken, Health Current’s director of community engagement, at [email protected] or 602-464-9641.

Upcoming Events

October 2, 9 & 16 - Fall 2020 CSR education workshop

The Continuous Service Readiness (CSR) program will be hosting its fall 2020 education workshop virtually in a series of 2-hour webinars on October 2, 9, 16 and 22. To learn more or register download the 2020 CSR workshop brochure.

October 6 - ASU’s Palliative Care ECHO: Non-Pain Related Symptom Management

ASU College of Health Care Solutions wants to enhance provider capacity in the use of palliative care best practices to better diagnose, manage and provide quality care for patients with complex serious illness through its Palliative Care ECHO. Palliative Care ECHO is a virtual learning series held every other Tuesday through October 2021 to discuss emerging best-practices for patients with complex serious illness and engage in case-based learning with palliative care experts.

October 15 – Arizona Health Equity Conference

There is still time to register for this year’s Arizona Health Equity Conference. This year’s keynote Dr. Veenod L. Chulani, MD, MSED, FSAHM, CEDS, will address Racism and its Impact on Child and Adolescent Health: from Awareness to Action. The Arizona Health Equity Conference will bring together hundreds of individuals across the state to discuss, promote, and take action towards health equity. Whether you are a care provider, researcher, professor, community leader, social worker, community health worker, student or simply passionate about health equity, the Arizona Health Equity Conference is the event for you.

October 22, 1 p.m. – Introduction to POLST webinar

The one-hour introduction to POLST workshop equips healthcare professionals with knowledge and resources to begin using POLST, a “portable medical order,” in Arizona. The objectives are to describe what POLST is at the state and national level, explain why POLST is important, define the population for POLST, when to begin the conversation and who completes POLST, describe the process for completing, reviewing and updating POLST and learn the process of submitting healthcare planning documents to the Arizona Healthcare Directive Registry.

In Other News

2nd Covid-19 wave could turn cracks in the hospital system into ‘earthquakes’

HHS doles out $2.5M to increase HIE public health emergency response
Becker’s Hospital Review

County, city leaders urged to keep requiring face masks as schools reopen